How to Care for Stainless Steel Appliances

A stainless steel microwave and a cleaning rag.
What You'll Need
Manufacturer’s instruction manual
Clean cloth
Clean sponge
Warm water
Mild liquid detergent
Lint-free towel
Baking soda
Glass cleaner
Stainless steel cleaner
Club soda

Caring for stainless steel appliances requires regular maintenance. Many are manufactured with a clear lacquer coating that must be cleaned according to the specifications of the manufacturer. However, you can simply and easily keep your stainless appliances looking brand new by taking the necessary precautions.

Step 1 - Read Your Product Guide

Take out the manufacturer’s instruction manual for your stainless steel products before you start to clean them for the first time. Read through the guide to ensure that you are aware of any specific instructions that must be followed to maintain the surface luster. The guide will tell you which cleaning products are approved and which products should not be used at all.

Step 2 - Wash Your Appliance

Liquid soap bottles

Fill your kitchen sink with warm water, immerse a cleaning cloth, and squeeze out any excess liquid. Use the warm wet cloth to remove any dirt or residue from the surface of the appliance first. Then, rub the cloth over the surface following the grain of the steel. For tougher residue, add a drop of gentle liquid detergent to your water before immersing the cleaning cloth. Be sure to completely rinse any detergent off the surface with clear warm water to prevent water spots from developing as it dries.

Step 3 - Dry Your Appliance

Use a clean, dry, lint-free towel to wipe the appliance surface in the same direction of the polish lines to remove any water residue and prevent mineral deposits.

Step 4 - Polish Your Appliance

Pour a small amount of vinegar into a bowl. Dip a clean cloth into it, and then use the cloth to polish the surface and brighten its shine. Polish the steel in the direction of the steel grain before thoroughly rinsing the vinegar off with warm water. Baking soda can also be used to add shine by putting a sprinkle onto a clean sponge and rubbing the steel gently. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water to prevent any residue from remaining on the steel and causing possible problems.

Step 5 - Remove Stubborn Marks

Stubborn marks and stains may seem difficult to remove. You can use glass cleaner for finger and hand prints by spraying a small amount on a lint-free cloth. Polish the surface in the direction of the steel grain to rub out the marks. Continue rubbing until the surface is shiny and all of the glass cleaner has been buffed off of the appliance.

A glass of club soda

Use stainless steel cleaner to reduce staining and scratching and to increase the shine on the surface of your appliance, but be sure to follow the directions supplied by the manufacturer. Applying too much stainless steel cleaner or the wrong product can lead to eventual corrosion issues.

High heat can lead to the appearance of staining on stainless steel, but heat stains can be removed with club soda (be sure to use a product that contains only club soda). Wait until your appliance is cool before rubbing the soda onto the stain with a cloth. As always follow the grain direction as you rub.

Stainless steel is a classic scheme for the kitchen, but it can be easily marred by finger prints or stains. Using these steps, you can keep your surfaces looking great without a lot of additional effort.